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Where to Enjoy the Iconic Muffuletta Sandwich in New Orleans

Our New Orleans contributor takes us on a tour of her favorite places for a Muffuletta, a decadent sandwich born in the Big Easy.

A muffuletta sandwich.

The Muffuletta sandwich at Parran’s Po-Boy’s. Photo by Eugenia Uhl.

The Muffuletta, born in New Orleans, is a massive sandwich overstuffed with simple ingredients, but it will forever deliver a big flavor.

It is prepared on a 9-inch round Italian loaf of sesame bread, typically made fresh from one of two local bakeries. The sandwich is layered with marinated olive salad and piled high with thinly sliced Italian meats and cheeses, creating the ultimate sandwich experience.

Locals agree and disagree on many issues when it comes to the city’s beloved Muffuletta. Some of the arguments include whether the sandwich should be served hot or cold, the spelling of its name, and the details of how the Muffuletta originated. One thing that we can all agree on is that the Muffuletta is one of the most popular, delicious sandwiches ever created!

It is reason enough to make your way to New Orleans to celebrate the Muffuletta and, as we say in our indigenous French-Creole: “Laissez les bon temps rouler” (Let The Good Times Roll).

Here are three of my favorite Muffuletta stops in and around New Orleans:

Central Grocery

The Muffuletta sandwich is said to have been created by Sicilian immigrant Salvator Lupo in the 1900s, at the Central Grocery on Decatur Street in the heart of the French Quarter.

For three generations, this classic Italian market has been owned and operated by the same family and is particularly well-known for its one-of-a-kind Muffuletta sandwich.  

Growing up in a Sicilian family in New Orleans, Central Grocery was a part of my childhood memories, stopping in for groceries with my grandmother for our Sunday dinners. Although Central Grocery is undergoing renovation, I will look forward to being in the Muffuletta line once the doors reopen! The wait is always worthwhile.

Photo by Eugenia Uhl.

DiMartino's Famous New Orleans Muffulettas 

Peter DiMartino, at the age of 25 in the 1970s, launched a small restaurant in Terrytown with five tables, conveniently located just a 20-minute drive from the French Quarter.

My very first job as a young girl was working at DiMartino's, making Po-Boy and Muffuletta sandwiches. We prepared the Muffuletta toasted and made the olive salad by hand. The beginning process of making the olive salad was to crack each olive one by one with a glass soda bottle and removing the pit. Although olives are now commonly served pitted in most restaurants, the traditional method brings back beautiful memories of our shared passion for making olive salad.

There are four DiMartino's locations. One of the most popular food items on the menu remains the Muffuletta.

DiMartino's Muffulettas storefront.
Photo by Eugenia Uhl.

Parran’s Po-Boy’s

Parran's Po-Boys  has been a beloved local spot for Po-Boys, Muffulettas, and Italian Creole food since 1975. The French Quarter is near both of the locations.

Allan Hornbrook bought Parran's 33 years ago from the previous owner and currently runs both locations with his son. Both have two distinct Muffuletta varieties to offer. The classic Muffuletta with a twist where the meat is grilled first, then topped with provolone cheese which is melted in the oven. Though served on the same Muffuletta bread as the original, the seafood Muffuletta stands out with its fried trio from the gulf. The seafood Muffuletta is loaded with all kinds of goodness, including shrimp, oysters, and catfish, topped with lettuce and tomato. Allan substitutes the olive salad with a homemade Cajun mayo for the seafood Muffuletta.

Photo by Eugenia Uhl.

I encourage you during your next visit to New Orleans to go on a Muffuletta tour and try all three of my favorite places! To entice you even more, here's a video featuring the locations mentioned and their Muffulettas!

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